Flash of an image, my hand, a knife, blood. My hand, stabbing, the knife, buried into something, right to left, buried into me, my flesh, maybe an arm, maybe a leg, mine, though, my flesh, my blood. Flash of an image, the background faded and blue, washed out, the blood dark and red, the knife no more than a flash, a handle, red oozing.
Flash of a knife...
I sit up. It wasn't a thought. It was a no-thought, almost a command, a thought without thinking, a reflex, the swat of a hand against a mosquito, the reaching for an itch before you even realize the itch is there. My feet have swung across the bed, ready to slide down its length, to take the steps propelling me forward into the kitchen, more towards the sink than any real cutlery, but the impulse is there.
Where am I going?
I shake myself. Am I dreaming? I saw myself do it, not standing outside myself, but from within my own skin, it was if I had done it, and the impetus was there, the command like a dress rehearsal, and already I'd taken one single step and then stopped. My heart hammered a few times against my ribs, as if it insisted on taking a few more steps forward without me, bursting forth. What am I doing? What am I about to do?
What was I about to do? Why would I be about to do this? What mad impulse spawned this? I blink, and stop, and blink, and blink again, reality grinding itself in bright lights and an almost ringing in my ears, my heart still thumping. No blood, no images, no commands. Just me standing alone, a brief echo of some horrible deed averted, like a spell that has been miscast.
Sometimes I wonder, would my friends still love me if I did something shocking. I talk a big game, but really, I guard myself, truly guard myself, over and over a thousand times, checking every motion, every motive, every thought in waking and sleeping.
It's normal, you know. It's normal, for many of us, at some point in our lives, to have a period of time where we are convinced that we will do shocking and terrible things if left unchecked. Some people are overcome by the anxiety of this, afraid to meet with others, some afraid to leave their houses even. They visit therapists, afraid to reveal the depths of the horrors they consider, who tell them reassuringly how very normal they are. You won't, you know. Do those things.
Then again, most of you don't have several buried selves lying dormant and near-strangled underneath the who-you-are. I don't need them anymore, therefore they are not. I could no more call them forth than I can control the tides.
But sometimes they come, often in the spaces between worlds, after a long movie, at the end of a engrossing novel -- if it speaks to them anyway. And, like a jealous lover having been denied, they are often vengeful.
That's one theory anyway.
The other is simply that I'm missing something, some primal thing that keeps me from stopping my most basic impulse controls in check. And that, for whatever reason, my most basic primal need is self-termination. It's not that I don't like myself, because I do. But I have this other thing, within, a demonic terminus, if you will.
I think, perhaps, both are true, and the realities are the same. Guarded, day and night, night at day, forever on vigil, eternal and true. I cannot control the tides, but I can watch them, forever if I must, until I can't.
It scares me a little. It is also a great comfort...
...and that scares me too.